This is just going to be a quick status update really, what’s been happening to our family in the five months since the last post. And of course because today would have been Juliet’s 51st birthday. So, in brief:
The girls are now both at university (York and Lincoln) and seemingly very happy there. Alice changed to Computer Science within a few days of arrival!
I had to re-learn how to cook for myself. Thank goodness for Sally Slo-Cooker. It’s not really even cooking; chopping up lots of ingredients, putting them in the pot and 4 hours later a delicious stew. Or tasty sludge.
I qualified as a voluntary bereavement counsellor following several weeks’ training at the hospice and currently am supporting three bereaved clients. The supervisors keep a very close eye on us (as do I myself) and some of the tales I hear are really quite harrowing. But, without getting all self-righteous and poncey about it, I just feel I’m giving something practical back to the community.
My running is going from strength to strength, not very fast, but I am still improving. Several half-marathons under my belt, many 10k races and even some cross-country events. And I’m doing the London Marathon in April. So it was another 10-miler on Christmas Day, and a 13-miler a couple of nights ago and “just” 7.5 miles with the club tonight. I ran past the park where J’s ashes are scattered and blew her a kiss. The girls had visited the park earlier in the day.
After messing around for the first six months of the year, I finally met Someone. We’re blissfully happy together. D is also a widow, her husband died just four months after Juliet. And she also has two daughters of almost exactly the same age as my two. So we understand each other, but that, I’m happy to say, is not the attraction. Skiing in February awaits us, and lots more I’m sure. I didn’t actually know that it could be like this, after my stormy rebound relationship of 2011-12.
The girls and I did have the garden party, to mark what would have been Simon & Juliet’s silver wedding anniversary. It all went fine, fifty guests on a lovely sunny day. I spent a fortune on the garden, plants, food, drinks. It was worth it. I had specifically told people it was just to mark the occasion rather than celebrate it. I left out our wedding photos for people to glance at but I’m not sure many did. Our youngest (3) bridesmaid, Susannah, or Sue as she likes to be called now she’s all grown-up, gave birth to Archie in October. Well that’s pretty grown-up I suppose.
I recently sought out and made up with “Jack” (See here). Life’s too short to bear grudges, although it took me over eighteen months to re-contact him. It was fine, it was as if we’d never been apart. “I didn’t know what to say, Simon” he said, rather pathetically, which was what I’d guessed.
Last year (2013) was a year of transition for me, when I finally moved on with everything – the importance (or not) of work, the disastrous rebound relationship, fun new relationships and even Juliet’s death. It’s a gradual thing, there’s no one moment you can look back on and say “that was the turning point”. Analogue vs digital, smooth curve not discrete events.
Bereavement – my Mum has a good analogy, let me see if I can remember it. Bereavement is like a severe wound, it hurts intensely and is very obvious to you. With time – and only time, really – it slowly starts to heal. Until all that is left is a scar, that stays with you always. Some of the time it is unseen and dormant. But sometimes it will itch, throb or even hurt. I like it that way. I’m learning to live with my scar.